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August 24, 2003 at 9:53 am #215jcbrewerMember
I’ve been reading a lot of the old posts and was surprised to learn that there are no houseplants allowed for fear of introducing new species to the continent. Makes sense though. But it got me to wondering. What about roaches and rats? Offloading tons of food supplies every year is bound to have introduced what we might call vermin, that generally do well where ever man prepares food. It’s been said that these two hearty species will inherit the planet should man ever resort to a full-scale nuclear exchange. If they can survive that, it seems they are probably doing pretty well in McMurdo and even better in the bases on the Antarctic Peninsula.August 24, 2003 at 11:49 am #1811thepooles98Keymaster
Interesting enough, they do not have a hold down here. For a couple of reasons. First of all most of the non-canned food is stored in an unheated warehouse. So even though some bugs manage to get down, they don’t survive the cold. Canned goods are kept warm. A couple of years ago some frozen and burst soda leaked in the warm warehouse and imported fruit flies got a foothold in the building. They eventually brought the temp down and killed them. Currently there is an infestation of thrips in the greenhouse. They were some how imported with the seeds or something. Anyway, we are out of freshies from the greenhouse as they drop the temperature and freeze them.
So far as I know there have never been rats or roaches, Though I’m sure they must have traveled here. I don’t think they would survive the cold.
The other reason nothing survives is the dryness. All the water is frozen. They would die of thirst.
mikeAugust 25, 2003 at 8:35 am #1812MN-SparkyMember
Hey Mike….Didnt you tell them about the Winged-Rats down there! Skua's
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http://join.msn.com/?page=features/parentalAugust 26, 2003 at 1:35 am #1813thepooles98Keymaster
Rick is right. The skuas take the ecological place of rats down here. They are basically a polar seagull. In years past when McM had a dump the Skua population began to grow. To this day you have to be careful walking around with food. Some of them have learned to fly in your face. If they can startle you enough to drop the food then they have a free meal.
The funniest (unconfirmed) skua story I know of is ‘The day it rained chickens in McMurdo’
It seems a crate of frozen chickens thawed and spoiled and were hauled to the dump. The skuas tried to fly off with them but they were too heavy and as they flew over town many of the chickens fell from their grasp onto the streets and buildings.
These days we are more conscious about garbage. Nothing gets dumped anymore. All the food waste gets returned to the United States for disposal. As a result the skuas do not return in the numbers that they used to.
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